Unveiling of artwork inspired by poet Grahame Davies
On Friday February 10th at 7pm, a reception will take place at Canolfan Soar in Merthyr Tydfil to mark the unveiling of a new painting by the artist Roy Guy inspired by the work of the poet Grahame Davies, who was for many years a resident of Merthyr.
Roy Guy, from Newbridge, has painted many prominent figures from Welsh history and culture, and has commemorated many historic events such as the drowning of the village of Capel Celyn and the disaster at the Prince of Wales Colliery at Abercarn in 1878.
It was while creating the painting to commemorate the Abercarn disaster that Roy Guy first worked with Grahame Davies, who provided a poem to accompany the painting – a poem which was later used by the Hollywood actor Michael Sheen to conclude his television history of the Chartist movement, A Valleys Rebellion, which aired in February 2015.
Roy has now produced a painting illustrating the work of Grahame Davies, one of Wales’s most prominent authors in Welsh and English, a winner of the Wales Book of the Year Award, who began his literary career in Merthyr Tydfil, where he lived from 1986 until 1997.
Grahame’s first book of poetry Adennill Tir (“Reclaiming Land,” Barddas), which won a prize named after another writer with strong Merthyr connections, the Harri Webb Memorial Prize, was launched in Canolfan Soar in 1997. Twenty years on, Roy Guy’s painting is going to be unveiled as a permanent feature of the very room where that launch took place.
The reception at Canolfan Soar will feature a brief explanation by Roy Guy of the vision and methods behind his artwork, and a short reading in Welsh and English by Grahame Davies, featuring poems which are included in the painting.
Two of Roy Guy’s paintings are already on show in Merthyr. His painting of the Historian Gwyn Alf Williams is in Dowlais Library, and his painting of the actor Philip Madoc is in the Central Library.
The collaboration with Roy Guy is the latest of many joint artistic projects in which Grahame Davies’s work is featured in Merthyr Tydfil. His poetry appears on the pink granite benches in the town centre, and in several sculptures by the artist Nigel Talbot along the Taff Trail, including at Cefn Coed y Cymmer and Aberfan, while work he produced in conjunction with local people in creative writing workshops appears in sculptures on the Tramroadside, and will soon be incorporated in artworks in the new Castle Square development.
In addition, in October last year, together with the poet Tony Curtis, Grahame Davies was commissioned to write a sequence of poems to commemorate the Aberfan disaster, to accompany an exhibition of photographs by Chuck Rappaport, which was displayed at The Red House in Merthyr.
The event at Canolfan Soar will be bilingual. Admission is free.